Kundalini yoga is a discipline which calls for physical and spiritual training to bring its practitioners into a deep, God-like consciousness. Kundalini is the spiritual force that resides at the base of the spinal column. Through the use of mantra, controlled breathing, specific poses, and meditative thought, this spiritual life force is released to improve the mind and body.
Although the original ideas involved with Kundalini yoga were found in old Sanskrit documents, the basic tenets were not brought to the western world until 1935 when Sri Swami Sivananda wrote a book about this type of yoga. This system became popular in the United States in 1969 through the efforts of Yogi Bhajan, who touted it as a way to spirituality. This Indian yoga master taught Kundalini yoga for thirty-five years and wrote over a hundred books on its effects.
The positions, or asanas, used in Kundalini yoga work almost like acupuncture, in that they put pressure on key nerves. Rapid breathing or deep inhalations are coordinated with repetitive poses to force energy from the lower part of the body to the higher portions. Some of the most common poses used in Kundalini yoga are the Perfect Pose, the Hero Pose, the Lotus, and the Rock Pose.
Kundalini Yoga is intensely spiritual in nature. Its movements can bring tranquility to the mind and energize the organs of the body, causing them to act more effectively. Traditionally, this type of yoga is considered an avenue to love, intuition, and joy. Physically, its advocates claim that Kundalini yoga will help with pain, diabetes, asthma, and memory problems. Kundalini yoga is also used by some to help with additive behaviors. Because Kundalini is such a spiritual exercise, it has been known to cause psychological problems in some participants.
Kundalini yoga has a greater spiritual connection to the Hindu religion than some other types of yoga. It involves greater introspection and should not be practiced without a highly trained teacher. Kundalini is not recommended for students just beginning to learn yoga because it focuses on the complexities of the body and mind, universal energy, and a consciousness of one’s place in the universe.